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      4 Best Kauai Airport Car Rental Companies — Browse Tips on Renting a Car in Kauai in 2024

      Holly Riddle
      Car Rental Kauai

      If you’re traveling to Kauai, chances are that you’ll be flying into Kauai’s main airport, Lihue Airport. This airport is the island’s only commercial airport. It offers direct flights to the United States and Canada. Additionally, it also offers flights to the other Hawaiian islands, which are easy and quick to get to (for example, Honolulu International is only a 20-minute flight away).

      Once you’ve arrived at the airport, though, you’ll need to get around the island, and, for that, a rental car is highly advised. Called The Garden Island, this fourth-largest island within the Hawaiian chain is filled with scenic vistas and roadways. Expect dramatic mountains, cliffs, and canyons. The best way to see it all without relying on limited public transit, taxis, and ride-share services is with a rental car. 

      Here’s everything you need to know about getting a rental car once you arrive at Lihue Airport. We’re also including the best four companies to rent from and tips on getting around. 

      The Vacationer Tip

      Check out before booking your Kauai car rental.

      Which Car Rental Companies are Best at Kauai’s Airport?

      Eight car rental companies do business out of Lihue Airport, all national brands. Here are the best out of those eight options, based on recent reviews on platforms such as Kayak and Google. 

      1. National Car Rental 

      National Car Rental Kauai

      The National Car Rental location at Kauai’s Lihue Airport is the top-rated car rental provider at the airport according to reviewers. Reviewers report great customer service. Some say they received free upgrades or that the rental counter stayed open a little later than normal to ensure their needs were met. Others mention the great selection of cars, as well as the great prices. 

      However, if you’re looking for the overall best-ranked car rental provider in Lihue, you might notice something. If you’re browsing nearby car rental companies, you will see that Sixt is ranked higher than National on many travel sites. Unfortunately, Lihue’s Sixt office is located off-airport. This is, of course, less than ideal if you want to get your vacation started as soon as possible, picking up your rental car as soon as you leave your terminal. That’s why, in the end, National is your best option for booking a rental car from Lihue Airport. 

      It should additionally be noted that, since the pandemic, National has been operating out of the Lihue Airport Alamo rental counter. This means that, when you arrive, you’ll need to go to the Alamo counter to pick up your rental. The National counter won’t be available. 

      Pros: Great customer service, great selection of cars, and great prices.

      Cons: The National rental counter has been combined with the Alamo rental counter, which can be confusing and might make for longer lines. 

      Phone: (844) 914-1552

      Hours: Daily from 5:15 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.

      Google Rating: 4.5 stars

      Kayak Rating: 9.4 (Wonderful)

      Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at National

      2. Enterprise 

      Enterprise Car Rental Kauai

      Enterprise is known nationally for its great service, just about anywhere you might decide to travel. However, this particular Enterprise outpost receives top marks among the car rental companies at Lihue Airport. Offering a variety of vehicles, including Jeeps and convertibles (which are extra-popular for travelers to Kauai), this location delights reviewers with its efficient check-in and return processes. Reviewers also love the professional service and cleanliness and ready availability of the cars.

      There is one thing to keep in mind that comes with booking with the Enterprise location at Kauai Airport, and it’s something that’s caused trouble quite a few renters. 

      Just like National, since the pandemic, the Enterprise location here has been doing business from the Alamo rental counter at the airport. This confuses some travelers, who end up not seeing Enterprise at the airport and then going into town to the Enterprise office there, simply assuming that they misread their booking and booked a rental off-airport.

      All that said, if you do book an Enterprise rental car at Lihue Airport, just make sure to verify that your rental actually will be at the airport, even if you have to go through the Alamo rental counter to claim it. 

      Pros: This Enterprise location is highly rated, and known for its easy check-in and returns, clean vehicles, and professional service.

      Cons: The Enterprise location does business out of the airport’s Alamo rental counter, which can be confusing. 

      Phone: (844) 914-1553

      Hours: Daily from 5:15 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.

      Google Rating: 4.4 stars

      Kayak Rating: 9.2 (Wonderful)

      Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Enterprise

      3. Alamo Rent a Car

      Alamo Rent a Car Kauai

      Speaking of Alamo, it’s also a very well-reviewed provider at the Kauai airport, ranked just 0.1 stars less than Enterprise. Alamo as a whole offers a lot of great amenities and extra services for travelers who want the ultimate convenience and the quickest experience possible. You can use self-service kiosks, skip-the-counter service, accelerated check-in service, and more to get you on your way sooner. 

      Reviewers report that this Alamo location offers some great prices compared to other rental providers at the airport (which isn’t surprising, as Alamo is typically more affordable than the competition). Reviewers have, however, mixed feelings regarding the customer service — but then maybe that’s just one more reason to opt for the extra convenience services, like skip-the-counter service, at the time of your booking, so you can avoid the staff. 

      Pros: Alamo offers affordable deals and services like accelerated check-in to get you on the road faster.

      Cons: The customer service at this particular location is a bit of a mixed bag. 

      Phone: (844) 914-1551

      Hours: Daily from 5:15 a.m. to 10:45 p.m.

      Google Rating: 4.3 stars

      Kayak Rating: 9.2 (Wonderful)

      Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Alamo

      4. Avis

      Avis Car Rental Kauai

      As we start to get into the middle of the pack of car rental companies that operate out of Kauai’s airport, the reviews and rankings take a somewhat sharp dive. This doesn’t mean that if you don’t go with one of our top three rental car companies at the airport you’ll have a bad time, necessarily. It just means that you might not find the customer service to be stellar or that the rental itself is top-notch. 

      Still, you could do worse than the leader of the (middle) pack, Avis. The budget-friendly car rental company offers lots of special deals that you can take advantage of when booking. Look out for offers on longer rentals, or upgrades when you book certain vehicle classes. 

      Reviewers report long lines at the check-in counter, but do say the check-in staff is friendly and helpful. Others report lackluster vehicles.

      Pros: Budget-friendly provider with lots of deals.

      Cons: Lackluster service and vehicles. 

      Phone: (808) 245-7995

      Hours: Daily from 6 a.m. to 11 a.m.

      Google Rating: 3.2 stars

      Kayak Rating: 7.3 (Good)

      Click Here to See the Best Car Rental Deals at Avis

      The Vacationer Tip

      Before booking your Kauai rental car, browse our Best Websites to Book Cheap Car Rentals guide and our How to Find and Book Cheap Car Rentals tutorial. And, if you’re flying to Kauai, see our Best Websites to Book Cheap Flights guide.

      Comparing the 4 Best Car Rental Companies at Kauai Airport 

      Get a quick glimpse of these four best car rental companies so you know which is best for you.

      Brand/Rental ProviderGoogle/Kayak RatingTypes of available vehiclesBudget or Luxury?
      Avis3.2/7.3Cars, SUVs, luxury vehicles, trucks, vansBudget
      Alamo4.3/9.2Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehiclesBudget
      Enterprise4.4/9.2Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehiclesLuxury
      National4.5/9.4Cars, trucks, SUVs, vans, luxury vehiclesLuxury

      Tips for Renting Cars at Kauai Airport 

      Renting a car on Kauai comes with some unique challenges. Here’s what you need to know. 

      Know where to go.

      If you do rent a car at Lihue Airport, you’ll have, as previously mentioned, eight on-airport options. The eight options include:

      • Advantage 
      • Alamo
      • Avis
      • Budget
      • Dollar
      • Enterprise
      • Hertz
      • National 

      All of the car rental booths are conveniently located just past the baggage claim, outside the terminal, and across the street. 

      However, if you’ve already read over our more in-depth guide to the individual best car rental companies above, you likely noticed something. Just because there are eight car rental providers operating at the airport, that doesn’t mean that there are eight car rental counters at the airport. Over the last few years, several have consolidated their operations and are working from the same counters (as is the case with National, Enterprise, and Alamo).

      Know your options.

      The County of Kauai cautions travelers that car rental shortages are not uncommon on the island. Because of this, you need to either reserve your car well ahead of your arrival, or you need to be aware of your other options, in the event a rental car isn’t available for your trip. 

      Private car rental provider Turo operates on the island, allowing you to rent cars from private individuals. Turo works similarly to Airbnb, so you’re renting a person’s extra car or main car when they’re not using it, much like you might rent their vacation home or home while they’re away.

      You can also find rental car companies with offices off-airport, further into the island, such as Sixt, and a handful of local providers. 

      However, if you don’t have a car, you can still get around the island, though it won’t necessarily be easy. 

      A few shuttles travel around the island’s most popular areas, such as state parks, beaches, hiking trails, and hotels. Likewise, some hotels offer their own shuttle services to guests.

      Bus service is also available, as are bike rentals. Walking is also not a bad way to get around if you’re staying in one general area, and you’ll find it’s an option that many visitors choose, even if rental cars are available. 

      Know the rules.

      If you do happen to snag a rental car when visiting Kauai, make sure that you know the rules of the road. Some of the Hawaiian driving laws may differ from those you’re accustomed to or might be a little bit stricter than what you’re familiar with. For example, you can’t use your mobile device for any reason, whatsoever, while driving in Hawaii, even if you’re at a red light or stopped. The only time you can use it is if you have your device’s hands-free functionality enabled. 

      Additionally, as you drive, watch for cyclists and pedestrians. Cycling and walking are both popular ways to get around the island. As such, it’s important to stay vigilant. 

      Finally, do note the speed limits, which may be a little slower than what you’re used to (or might prefer). Just sit back and enjoy the easy pace. You’re on island time, after all! 


      Where are the car rental companies located at Lihue Airport?

      Eight car rental providers operate out of Lihue Airport. You can find their counters directly across from the baggage claim area, outside the terminal, and across the street. However, do note that not all car rental providers at the airport have dedicated counters. Some — like Alamo, National, and Enterprise — work out of one, consolidated counter.

      Do I have to rent a car to get around Kauai?

      While you don’t have to rent a car to get around Kauai, it’ll make your life easier. Otherwise, you’ll need to rely on public transportation, shuttles, bike rentals, and walking. While these can all be affordable and even enjoyable forms of transportation (some travelers even take specific walking trips to Kauai), if you want the most convenience, go with a rental car.

      Do I need to pay tolls when I rent a car in Kauai?

      No, there are no toll roads in Hawaii.

      How can I save money renting a car in Kauai?

      If you want to save money renting a car in Kauai, make sure that you book your rental car as far out in advance of your arrival as possible. Make sure to book at least several weeks in advance, for the best prices. 

      While SUVs, Jeeps, and convertibles might be the most popular rental car options when visiting Kauai if you want to save money, consider opting for a smaller, less-popular compact car.

      Lastly, if you can’t find a rental car at the airport that fits within your budget, look to providers with off-airport locations. If you do, you may just be able to find the car you want (or better!) for a lower price.

      Editorial Disclosure: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved, or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post. 

      Holly Riddle Headshot

      By Holly Riddle

      Holly Riddle is a freelance travel, food, and lifestyle journalist who also dabbles in ghostwriting and fiction. Her work appears in publications ranging from Global Traveler to Golf Magazine, Mashed to Forbes, and Bloomberg. When she’s not writing, you can find her exploring the mountains near her home in the Adirondacks. Her favorite travel destinations include Chicago and New Orleans.